Earlier this month, the Washington Farm Bureau and WAFLA filed suit against the state of Washington for continually using emergency regulations during the coronavirus pandemic, rather than going through the legal rule making process. John Stuhlmiller, Farm Bureau CEO said by continually using emergency rules, farmers had to address provisions that were not fair or reasonable.
One of the more concerning provisions, Stuhlmiller noted, allows people identified as “community workers” and “community based outreach workers” unfettered access to farms in the name of employee access.
“You’ve got a limit on the number of people that can be in a group shelter, as well as a limit on group transportation. And you’ve got twice a day health care visits, you’ve got 20 minute access to emergency medical services. So that’s the kind of stuff we’re looking at that we say you could get there, we could get to safe provisions but on their face this is going to be almost impossible for ag to be able to meet.”
Stuhlmiller added by going the emergency rule route, the farm community was not allowed to offer input to safely weather the pandemic.
Stuhlmiller said they hope the state will go through the correct rule making process going forward. He noted that response to coronavirus is very different now than it was back in March, and the rules should reflect that.
“Stop this emergency rule rollout and go back to reasonable rules, enforceable and things that agriculture can do instead of having these standards we can’t meet.”
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